A SINGLE mum-of-three in Hull has been left devastated after she was scammed out of all her Christmas spending money.
Tracy Shahar, 47, had worked hard to save £1,005 to make her family’s Christmas extra special.
Instead, she’s now scrambling to keep up with her mortgage repayments and credit card bills after being conned by a person claiming to be from Santander’s fraud team.
She told Hull Live: “Everything at the moment is going towards Christmas.
“I am so fortunate that I have a mum and dad that are able to help me because If I didn’t I would not be able to pay my mortgage or credit card bills.
“It makes me feel sick because there are so many people out there who can’t do that.”
Ms Shahar was duped into transferring the money after she received a call informing her of “suspicious activity” on her account from someone claiming to be from Santander’s security team.
The fraudster told Ms Shahar an unauthorised direct debit of £933 to Carphone Warehouse had been set up.
What is a number spoofing scam and how can you spot one?
What is a number spoofing scam?
Fraudsters mask their real phone digits using a “number spoofing” scam which shows a fake one on a person’s caller ID.
They find out which bank you have an account with, either through a corrupt employee or by finding out your details on the “dark web” following a data leak.
They then use software so that it looks like they are calling or texting from the bank’s official number to trick you into handing over passcodes or other details.
Because it looks like the bank’s official number on your phone, texts and calls will appear in the same chain as other – legitimate – messages from your bank.
How to spot a scam
Banks will never ask you to hand over sensitive information such as passwords or passcodes.
They will also never request that you transfer money into another account.
Be wary of texts containing telephone numbers from what appears to be your bank.
Some banks do include their numbers in legitimate messages, but fraudsters also use this trick to get you to call them.
If in doubt, phone the number on the back of your debit card or on your bank’s website.
What to do if you’ve been scammed
If you are asked to transfer money or hand over log in details, put the phone down and report it to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, and your bank.
Even if you are savvy, you can still be tricked, as some fraudsters will ask you to hang up before calling you from what appears to be the bank’s number to convince you it’s not a scam.
But they’re just using their number spoofing software to fool you.
Instead, ring the bank yourself to check if the messages you have received are genuine.
Will you get your money back?
Sadly, if you’ve been tricked by a scammer into transferring money into another account or handing over log in details, you may not get your money back.
Banks often refuse to pay up when the customer is at fault, even if the scam is really convincing.
She checked her account and saw the money had been transferred to GE Capital.
Ms Shahar was told to transfer her remaining money to a separate account where it would be kept safe.
The mum claims she was roped in by the fraudster’s poised telephone manner and asked him to confirm he was an employee of the bank.
The scammer was “extremely professional” and told Ms Shahar to check the number that he was calling from.
When she rang Santander later that night to check the transfer and ask when her new account would be set up the real bank employee had to break it to her that she had been a victim of a scam.
Ms Shahar is still uncertain if she’ll be able to recover any of the money she has lost.
MORE ON MONEY
It’s unclear what type of scam Ms Shahar has been a victim of, but it appears she’s been conned by a “number spoofing” fraud.
Last month, The Sun reported on a father-of-two in Arbroath, Scotland who was also left penniless in the run up to Christmas after unwittingly handed over £3,100 to fraudsters who had mirrored the number for RBS’s real enquiries line.
Rhys Tapley, 31, was also convinced by the scammer that he was the victim of fraud before transferring into what was claimed to be a secure account.
Another man, a gardener from Chichester, lost nearly £10,000 when he was called by a person claiming to be from HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC).
David Hunt, 61, only managed to recover £422 of the £9,690 lost.
A spokesperson for Santander told Hull Live: “We are sympathetic to Mrs Shahar’s situation and to all who suffer distress at the hands of criminals who carry out scams.
“The customer was presented with several fraud and scam warning messages during her online payment, unfortunately, despite these warnings, Mrs Shahar authorised the transfer of the money to the fraudster she was speaking to.
“We welcome the involvement of the media to help raise awareness of scams. We hope it will reinforce our own campaigns to protect and educate customers and remind them to follow our specific guidance about avoiding scams when using online banking.
“Alongside this we continue to work closely with the authorities, other partners and the industry to combat fraud, as well as helping the police to ensure the criminals who cause such misery are brought to justice.”
Action Fraud advises people “to be wary of any unsolicited phone calls, especially when they ask for your personal or financial details.”
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